Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Kids Are Not All Right

"A lot of girls are like, 'I'd never be able to do what you did!' And I tell them, 'I never thought I'd be able to do it, so don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.'"

So inspirational, so empowering. What did this girl do? Did she take a stand against a major injustice? Did she rise up from meager beginnings to become a huge success against all odds? Did she fight for her paaaaaaaartaaaaay?

You're not that far off if you guessed the last option. The quote was given to People magazine by Catelynnn from the hit MTV reality show, Teen Mom. It was in reference to giving up her daughter for adoption.

In case you're not following, I'll spell it out for you. When she said, "I never thought I'd be able to do it, so don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try," she was referring to the decision to give up her daughter for adoption.

When you hear, "Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try," it's usually associated with an inspirational and/or positive subject. Examples of appropriate situations to invoke this phrase include:
  • I lost two legs in the war and didn't think I'd ever walk again. But I rehabbed nonstop for two years and with the help of amazing advancements in prosthetics technology, I was able to finish my first triathlon. Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.
  • I've been blind since birth, but I really wanted to be a lawyer. So, I worked tirelessly on my education, and I graduated with honors from Harvard Law. Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.
  • I thought I was afraid of heights, but my girlfriend wanted to go skydiving with me for her birthday. I care about her so much and wanted to make her birthday wish come true, so I jumped out of that plane. It was so much fun. Once I left that plane, there was no fear in my body. Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.
This is not an appropriate use of the phrase:
  •  I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend when I was 16, and I became pregnant. On top of that, I come from a white trash family who wouldn't be able to help me raise or support the child, and I was on the verge of flunking out of high school. I realized I probably wasn't fit to properly raise my child, so I gave her up for adoption. Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.
I'm a sporadic watcher of Teen Mom. I don't follow it religiously, like I did with the greatest MTV reality show of all time, Laguna Beach (OMG so much drama). But if I'm flipping through my channel guide and see it's on, I will watch. It is so fascinating.

First of all, to loosely quote Old Guy, MTV is scraping the bottom of the barrel for its reality programming. 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom...yikes! It's quite interesting.

Secondly, it's the single greatest tool ever made to promote abstinence. I'm 27, and it even scares me.

Lastly, it's just simply entertaining. Deadbeat dads, GEDs, teenage arguments straight out of a Cops episode, botched marriage proposals, parents who are in and out of jail. And since I've only caught a small percentage of episodes, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

At first I felt bad about getting amusement at the expense of these poor girls, but then I realized something: they CHOSE to do this show. They're doing this for the money. They're doing this so they can raise their kids and pay for college. Basically, they're strippers.

You could also compare the girls to sweatshop workers. The people who work at sweatshops do so by choice. Nobody forced them to work there. The labor market pushed them there. If there was a better job available, they'd do it. But since there isn't a better job, the choice is to work at a sweatshop or don't work and starve.

These teen moms just graduated high school. What the hell are they going to do? Waitress at the local Ruby Tuesday's or fold clothes at their local Abercrombie & Fitch for $9 per hour? Hell no! They're taking the MTV money and People magazine interviews. I know what I'd choose.

Someone needs to put food on the table, and these girls are taking charge. And it's all for the better. From what I've seen, the guys on this show are a disgrace to humanity.


  1. Interesting POV and I totally agree with you.

    I'm not a heavy follower of the show but when I do watch it, I always have mixed feelings about its existence. On the one hand, it is a great promoter of abstinence and I do have some admiration for these girls for putting their stories out there, even if they are only doing it for the money. Even though it is their choice, I can't imagine it being easy to put your hardships (not to mention trashy drama) out there for the world to see. And knowing that the public knows it's your only option for getting this kind of money has to be humiliating (but who knows, maybe they're oblivious to this.) If I were in their situation, I'd have chosen folding clothes at A&F. No amount of $ would force me to air my dirty laundry out there.

    On the other hand, I feel that all the hooplah around the show is undeserved and misleading. It may be encouraging many young girls who are either careless about protected sex ("I'll try to be careful but if I get pregnant, then I know I'll be okay - look at those girls from Teen Mom") or secretly want to have a baby at their age for whatever reasons. Having gone to high school in a small town, I witnessed many young girls who were incredibly apathetic about their futures. Many of these girls actually WANTED to have a baby. Maybe it was to show off (sounds crazy but I actually knew a few insecure girls who thought it would be fun to parade a baby around), maybe they didn't feel loved and wanted to create something that would surely love them back, or maybe they suffered a great deal of small town ennui and didn't know what to do with their life but have a baby. Whatever the reason, it's a sad mentality and one that surely still exists.

    I just hope this tv show is not doing the reverse of what its meant to do. I hope that when these young, hopeless, easily influenced girls go to their local wal-mart, that they do not feel encouraged by these teen mom "reality stars" that they see on the cover of People magazine at check-out. And worse, I hope they aren't encouraged by Catelynn's mindless words, what a moron!!

    That was a mouthful, sorry. And omg, I miss Laguna Beach!!!

  2. christina spent more time on her comment then the burrito on his post. impressive.